Buddy Franklin decision leaves Sydney Swans fuming after mural proposal rejected

The City of Sydney has declared the mural 'unsympathetic' to the local streetscape.

Buddy Franklin.
Buddy Franklin retired from the AFL at the end of the 2023 season. Image: Getty

The Swans have expressed their disappointment after a proposal to paint a street mural of Buddy Franklin was rejected by the City of Sydney. Franklin retired from the AFL at the end of the 2023 season, bringing down the curtain on his 354-game career.

In recent months the Swans had lobbied the City of Sydney to have a mural of Franklin painted on the side of a building in Surry Hills, but the proposal was officially rejected on Monday. The mural, which would have cost $5000 to paint, would have commemorated the moment Franklin kicked his 1000th goal last year.

'EXPLOITING THE RULES': AFL fans left fuming over an 'unfair' move

HUGE: Trent Cotchin's claim after Damien Hardwick girlfriend furore

Fellow Swans great Adam Goodes has his own mural, as do a number of Roosters NRL players. The Franklin mural was planned for a blank wall on a building near the intersection of South Dowling and Fitzroy Streets, just a short walk from the SCG.

Apparition Media had proposed the mural of Franklin, stating: “It is this powerful image that we propose to bring to life in a public mural, thereby inspiring future generations and showcasing the extraordinary rewards of hard work and perseverance. Given the site’s proximity to Moore Park and the Sydney Swans’ home ground, the proposed mural is appropriate and relevant as Sydney AFL supporters will often travel past it.”

But the City of Sydney council said the proposal was “unsympathetic” to the local streetscape and could have “adverse impacts” on the surrounding area, which is a heritage conservation area. The council said: “The development has not demonstrated design excellence (and) is considered to be an advertisement. As such, the development is prohibited.”

The Swans said in a statement: “While the Sydney Swans respect the council’s decision it’s a disappointing outcome. We believe the mural would have made a wonderful contribution to the street art through Surry Hills. This mural was simply intended as a tribute to one of the greatest players we have seen.”

Fans were also unimpressed, although some agreed that we don't need any more murals of male athletes. The majority were left fuming, labelling the decision a 'joke' and 'ridiculous'.

Buddy Franklin skips parade for retiring AFL players

The 36-year-old Franklin played 354 games and kicked 1066 goals across nine seasons with the Hawthorn Hawks and 10 with the Swans. He announced his immediate retirement after suffering a calf injury against Essendon in July that would have ruled him out of the rest of the regular season. The Swans then surged into the finals after finishing seventh, but whether or not Franklin would have been fit to return will never be known.

Franklin farewelled fans at the SCG in August, but decided not to take part in the parade of retiring players at the grand final at the MCG in September. He also didn't attend his own retirement press conference, with coach John Longmire and CEO Tom Harley fronting the media instead.

Buddy Franklin, pictured here with wife Jesinta and their kids at the SCG in August.
Buddy Franklin with wife Jesinta and their kids at the SCG in August. (Photo by Matt King/AFL Photos/via Getty Images )

"He is an unbelievably private person," Harley said. "From the club's point of view, we are absolutely comfortable with that. We probably all want to hear from Lance and I'm sure that will happen in time."

Longmire added: "He's always been low key - 'I don't want any fanfare, there's no fanfare'. I said, 'Well, there's a fact of life here mate, you are one of the all-time greats'. But he just doesn't like these situations.

"He's most comfortable at the footy ground, and everyone sees the way he walks over from the ground and thinks it's 24 hours a day. It's not - he's just very humble and very private."

Sign up to our newsletter and score the biggest sport stories of the week.